Witness

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Earlier this week we studied the first aspect of the testimony of John the Baptist concerning Jesus in John 1. We learned that John was the first witness to tell the world that Yahweh had come; He was among them, yet they did not know Him. John also bore witness about the infinite, ultimate worth found in Christ’s identity as Emmanuel by saying, “I am not even worthy to untie the straps of His sandals”. This led us to look to John as an example of an obedient, faithful witness. We learned that a true witness is one who is sent, bold, humble and a pointer. We find a beautiful example of this in 2 Corinthians 5, which reads like this:

 

“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 ESV

  1. Sent – Paul says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” … “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” … “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” We must first recognize the divine commission with which we have been entrusted. Christ having reconciled us to God, that is forgiving us of our sins and not counting them against us, follows that by entrusting to us the message of reconciliation, and sends us out as ambassadors or representatives of His message. Simply put, Christ forgives sinners, and then sends them out to proclaim the same message of forgiveness to other sinners. God has chosen to drawn men and women to Himself through your voice, through your witness. Meditate on the awe of that fact!

 

  1. Bold – “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” … “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The role of the ambassador is to be so controlled by the truth of what Christ has accomplished in His death and resurrection that they no longer live for themselves, but rather for Christ; this is done by imploring others to be reconciled to God. The word for “implore” here in the Greek is the word deo-metha and it literally means to beg from a pressing need. The boldness of a true witness comes from the realization of the pressing need of others to be reconciled to God through Christ.

 

  1. Humble – “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” Notice the ambassador is not arrogant or condescending to those who hear, rather his confidence comes from knowing the fear of the Lord. Paul makes it clear that ambassadors do not commend themselves or boast about outward appearances, but rather what has happened in their hearts. Do not walk with swagger; walk with humility because what you have, what you know about Jesus was given to you by grace. If you misunderstand this, then the message you are sharing is not the one given by God; I dare say if you miss this point you are most likely not sharing your faith anyway.

 

  1. Pointer – “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” It all comes down to this, namely, pointing people to the Savior. We do not preach ourselves, we do not proclaim a religious system, we do not herald a code of morality, we preach Christ crucified for sinners. We are like beggars who have been given access to an eternal supply of provision, and called to point other beggars to the supply.

 

 

As you consider these truths about a faithful witness, ask if you are being faithful as an ambassador of God. If God is going to use you as the only ambassador to those in your immediate circles of influence, will they ever hear? Are you being faithful to proclaim Christ to them? If not, you have fallen in one of these areas listed above. Do you recognize the purpose of your salvation includes witnessing to others? Are you relying on yourself and falling into fear? Has your salvation caused you to grow an attitude of superiority over “sinners”? Is your message just morality and religion, or Christ?

 

Be encouraged and share Christ. Make it a goal to share the gospel with someone before Sunday. Represent Him well. I expect to hear some amazing God stories this weekend!

 

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